Concerns over Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's ability to keep people safe

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service needs to do more to protect the public and remains unprepared to respond effectively to a terrorist attack, a new report has found.

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Effectiveness, efficiency and people 2021/22 – Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) judged that Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service:

  • requires improvement at effectively and efficiently keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks; and
  • is good at looking after its people

HMICFRS said that since its last inspection of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service in 2019 the service had made good progress in how it looks after its people, including how the service monitors the competence of its staff and their access to training.

In 2019, HMICFRS identified three causes of concern about Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s performance in looking after its workforce, which have now been resolved.

However, in a separate letter published today, the inspectorate has identified a new cause of concern regarding the service’s ability to respond to major incidents, such as a marauding terrorist attack.

HMICFRS said other changes are needed, including ensuring the service makes the best use of its resources and is effective in preventing fire and other risks.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services Andy Cooke said:

“Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is good at looking after its staff and at responding to fires and other emergencies. It has responded to the recommendations from phase one of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry, and I am pleased at how much progress the service has made in terms of improving equality, diversity and inclusion.

“However, there are several areas where the service needs to improve its effectiveness in keeping people safe – including preventing fires and protecting the public through regulation of fire safety.

“How the service responds to, and trains staff for, marauding terrorist attacks is a cause of concern. The Manchester Arena Inquiry was taking place at the time of our inspection, and while I can see that staff have confidence in the new leadership team, the service needs to make sure it is prepared to form part of a multi-agency response to any future terrorist incident. The service needs to provide this response in an efficient way.”

Today HMICFRS has also published the State of Fire and Rescue 2021, which sets out Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services’ assessment of the sector nationally.

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Effectiveness, efficiency and people 2021/22 – Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Notes:

  • This is the third time HMICFRS has inspected fire and rescue services across England and Wales. The most recent inspections in 2020 considered how each fire and rescue service was responding to the pandemic.
  • Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is part of the first tranche of 12 reports to be published for 2021/22. Reports for the remaining fire and rescue services will be published across the next year.
  • For further information, the HMICFRS Press Office can be contacted at 07836 217 729 or HMICPressOffice@hmicfrs.gov.uk (e-mail address).